Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Will To Live... Where's Mine?

As the 2 or 3 die-hard fans of my blog may recall, my favorite job out of the few I had in my life was one where I drove poor people to their doctor's appointments.

I enjoyed driving a car for a living. I enjoyed being an observer of the gritty neighborhoods in the forgotten America and I enjoyed the stories people told me when I got to play a type of a traveling psychiatrist without a prescription pad.

One lady I recall driving told me about her life of woe. She was a recovering heroin addict. Her former husband, also an addict, abused her verbally and physically. Because he had a car body repair shop and was financially successful he took away her kids. She had multiple heart attacks. She lived at a subsidized apartment in a bad neighborhood. One time a fella offered her a ride on the back of his motorcycle. She liked speed. It turned out this bike was stolen. He was chased by the cops. The bike crashed. He ran off. She landed FACE DOWN on a pavement and had all her teeth knocked out.

I was driving her to dentist. I complimented on her smile when she got new teeth. I was happy that the remnant of the American welfare state paid for her teeth. She deserved them. Thank God for medicaid.

This lady had two men in her life. One was a sweet guy who bought her flowers and chocolates. The other was a colder dude who held her at a distance. Of course, she was in love with the latter.

She had memory lapses. She had no career and little money. Her children were socialized against her and she suffered greatly as a result.

But she had something I never did as an adult. And uncritical embrace of life. An unquestioning will to live.

Mine flickers in and out. It always cries out like a toddler with diarrhea. It needs to be constantly massaged and justified. It has no automatic momentum of its own. It circles me around and around the old, worn-out, drifting questions that most abandon in their teenage years if they ever pick them up at all.

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